The Walking Dead (season 1)
|The Walking Dead (season 1)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Original run||October 31, 2010– December 5, 2010|
|Home video release|
|Region 1||March 8, 2011|
|Region 2||May 16, 2011|
|Region 4||December 1, 2011|
|Blu-ray Disc release|
|Region A||March 8, 2011|
|Region B||May 16, 2011|
The first season of the AMC horror–drama television series The Walking Dead premiered on October 31, 2010, and concluded on December 5, 2010, consisting of six episodes. The series is based on the series of graphic novels of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. It was developed for television by Frank Darabont, who wrote or co-wrote four of the season's six episodes and directed the pilot. Darabont, Kirkman, David Alpert, Charles H. Eglee, and Gale Anne Hurd were executive producers, while Darabont served as showrunner.
The season follows former sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes, who awakens from his coma into a post-apocalyptic world filled with flesh-eating zombies, dubbed as "walkers". Rick goes on a search to find his family and to discover the origins of the walker virus.
The first season was met with positive reviews from critics and gained 5.35 million viewers on its premiere. The finale garnered six million viewers and among adults ages 18–49, making it the most viewed basic cable drama series of all time. Based on its reception, AMC renewed the series for a second season consisting of 13 episodes, which premiered on October 16, 2011.
Sheriff's Deputy Rick Grimes is shot and wounded in an altercation with criminals. After slipping into a coma for an indeterminate amount of time, Rick awakens in an abandoned hospital to find a post-apocalyptic world overrun by infectious zombies, colloquially called "walkers". Rick discovers that his wife and son are missing and meets survivors Morgan Jones and his son Duane, who take him in and explain the situation to him. Rick leaves Morgan with a radio in order to keep him updated, as he heavily arms himself from the police station's armory and sets off on a perilous journey for Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC is rumored to have set up a quarantined safe-zone in the city and Rick believes his family may be there. However, he soon discovers that the city has been overrun with walkers and is no longer safe. After being rescued from a horde of walkers by Glenn Rhee, Rick meets part of Glenn's group, who had set themselves up in an Atlanta department store. Walkers attack however, forcing them to escape while reluctantly leaving behind Merle Dixon, handcuffed on the roof by Rick due to his unstable and violent behavior.
A few miles outside the city, in a camp with the rest of the survivors from Glenn's group, Rick's wife Lori and son Carl have been hiding with Shane Walsh, Rick's former police partner and best friend, who is now her lover after they presumed Rick to be dead. After escaping Atlanta and being reunited with Lori and Carl, Rick assumes a command position with Shane and must take responsibility not only for his wife and son but for the survival of the group as well. Part of the group led by Rick goes back into Atlanta to reclaim a weapons bag and to rescue Merle but find that he has escaped somewhere by sawing off his hand. On their return however, they find that their camp had been nearly overrun by walkers and Amy, Andrea's sister, is killed. In hopes of finding answers and medical treatment for Jim, an injured member who sustained a walker's bite, the group plans to return to Atlanta and seek aid from the CDC. After one family sets off alone to find their relatives, and Jim requests to be left on a road after beginning to succumb to the infection, the group continues towards the CDC.
In the CDC, all but one staff member, Dr. Edwin Jenner, have either fled or committed suicide. Dr. Jenner explains his research on the zombie apocalypse and that it has not yielded a cure. He explains that the French may have found a cure, as they were the only nation whose scientists stayed in their labs. Lack of fuel for the emergency generators soon initiates the building's safety protocols, which will trigger decontamination: an explosion designed to destroy the facility and prevent the escape of deadly diseases. Without hope for a cure and the future, Jenner elects to stay and die. Although they are nearly trapped in the building, Carol reveals a grenade she took from Rick's clothing, and the group is able to use it to blow out a window. Before the group leaves the building, Dr. Jenner whispers something into Rick's ear, while Andrea and Jacqui decide to stay with Jenner as they have also lost hope. Dale refuses to leave Andrea behind and elects to stay as well, so Andrea reverses her decision only to save Dale. She and Dale escape just before Jenner and Jacqui are killed by the building's self-destruction, as the survivors look on from outside.
The first season has seven actors receive opening credits billing.
- Andrew Lincoln portrays series protagonist Rick Grimes, a former sheriff's deputy from King County, Georgia, who awakens from a coma into the apocalypse. (6 episodes)
- Jon Bernthal portrays Shane Walsh, Rick's best friend and former colleague who helped Rick's family escape the apocalypse and is leader of the Atlanta camp. Shane has a sexual relationship with Lori, believing Rick to be dead, and has a fatherly relationship with Carl. (6 episodes)
- Sarah Wayne Callies plays Lori Grimes, Rick's wife and mother of Carl. Lori is an emotionally fragile woman who has a sexual relationship with Shane after believing Rick to be dead. (6 episodes)
- Laurie Holden plays Andrea, a former successful civil rights attorney and sister of Amy. (5 episodes)
- Jeffrey DeMunn portrays Dale Horvath, an old man who owns the RV around which the survivors have formed a community. (6 episodes)
- Steven Yeun portrays Glenn Rhee, a former pizza delivery boy who is often sent on dangerous missions. (6 episodes)
- Chandler Riggs plays Carl Grimes, Rick and Lori's son. (6 episodes)
- Emma Bell portrays Amy, Andrea's younger childish and innocent sister. (5 episodes)
- IronE Singleton plays Theodore "T-Dog" Douglas, a fellow survivor in the Atlanta group. (5 episodes)
- Jeryl Prescott Sales portrays Jacqui, a member of the group who is the only survivor of her family and a former zoning officer worker. (5 episodes)
- Melissa McBride plays Carol Peletier, a friendly yet soft-spoken wife of Ed and mother of Sophia who is frequently abused by her husband. (4 episodes)
- Madison Lintz portrays Sophia Peletier, Carol and Ed's daughter. (4 episodes)
- Norman Reedus portrays Daryl Dixon, Merle's equally aggressive and volatile but level-headed younger brother and hunter. (4 episodes)
- Andrew Rothenberg plays Jim, a mechanic and a quiet yet tortured member of the group who saw his wife and children killed and eaten by walkers. (4 episodes)
- Juan Pareja plays Morales (first name unknown), another member of the group who knows the city's infrastructure and puts his family first. He and his family part ways with the group to be with their family in Birmingham, Alabama leaving Morales and his family's fate unknown. (4 episodes)
- Adam Minarovich portrays Ed Peletier, Carol's abusive husband and Sophia's father who frequently has issues with Shane. He is killed by walkers when the camp is overrun. (3 episodes)
- Michael Rooker plays Merle Dixon, Daryl's racist, volatile and unreasonable older brother, who is also a hunter. (2 episodes)
- Noah Emmerich plays Dr. Edwin Jenner, a pathologist in the Atlanta CDC looking for any kind of cure. (2 episodes)
- Neil Brown, Jr. portrays Guillermo the leader of a Vatos group in Atlanta taking care of a hospital of abandoned elderly people until they pass away. (1 episode)
- Lennie James plays Morgan Jones, Duane's father who gives Rick shelter which saves his life. (1 episode)
- Adrian Kali Turner plays Duane Jones, Morgan's son. (1 episode)
- Jim R. Coleman plays Lambert Kendal and Linds Edwards plays Leon Basset, a pair of police officers who work with both Rick and Shane. (1 episode)
The series features several actors Walking Dead developer Frank Darabont has worked with previously, including Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Melissa McBride, and Juan Pareja. All four appeared in his 2007 film The Mist, along with Thomas Jane, who originally was set to star in the series when it was pitched to HBO. He is also in talks with Darabont to possibly guest star on the series. Laurie Holden also appeared in the 2001 film The Majestic (she played Adele Stanton, Jim Carrey's love interest), which Darabont directed. DeMunn has additionally appeared in several of Darabont's films, in addition to The Mist and The Majestic: The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Green Mile (1999).
Robert Kirkman, who created the comic book series in 2003, says he had considered the idea of a Walking Dead television series, but never actively pursued it. "I certainly wanted it to happen, just because I knew it would be good for the book... I'm certainly not against adaptations, like some creators." When Frank Darabont became interested in adapting the comic books for television, Kirkman said it was "extremely flattering" and went on to say that, "He definitely cares about the original source material, and you can tell that in the way he's adapting it. It's an extreme validation of the work... Never in a million years could I have thought that if Walking Dead were to ever be adapted that everything would be going this well. I think that that's all because of Frank."
Darabont himself had been a fan of the zombie genre since seeing George A. Romero's 1968 film Night of the Living Dead when he was fourteen years old. ""Night of the Living Dead" had this weird vibe that was almost - it was like pornography... It had this marvelously attractive, disreputable draw... I loved it immediately." Darabont recalls walking into a comic book store in Burbank, California and seeing The Walking Dead on the shelf in 2005. "Being that I've always had "the love of zombies genre," I of course grabbed it, took it home and read it, and immediately started pursuing the rights to it. I thought it would make a great TV show... I loved the idea of an extended, ongoing, serialized dramatic presentation set in the zombie apocalypse." He described the process of developing the series and getting it set up at a network as "four years of frustration," and credits executive producer Gale Anne Hurd with finally getting the series on AMC. "I can't remember what the hell prompted her to read it [the script], but she said, "Wow, I really love this pilot you wrote. What are you doing with it?" I said I'd been trying to set it up forever... She said "I think AMC might be the place to take this." She did, and then bam! They were immediately interested. I had to credit Gale, her insight into marrying the material and the buyer."
Darabont's original pilot script was split in half and embellished, making the first two episodes instead of one, "...just to slow the narrative down and dig into the characters more deeply, so it's not just plot-driven, event-driven stuff. You really want to drag these characters into the equation." To write the remaining episodes of the season, Darabont recruited Charles H. Eglee, Adam Fierro and Glen Mazzara, all of whom he had worked with while directing an episode of The Shield. Jack LoGiudice also joined the writing team, along with Robert Kirkman, also an executive producer. "I have the best of both worlds," says Kirkman. "It was a lot of fun writing Episode 104, and I'm hoping if it continues into Season 2, I'll be able to write more episodes."
Principal photography for the pilot episode, "Days Gone Bye", began on May 15, 2010 with the subsequent five episodes beginning filming a few weeks later on June 2. The first season was filmed in and around Atlanta, Georgia where the episodes were primarily set.
The show's official website released a motion comic based on the first issue of the original comic and voiced by Phil LaMarr. The site also posted a making-of documentary primarily about the first episode, as well as a number of other behind-the-scenes videos and interviews. In the documentary, comic series creator and show executive producer Robert Kirkman as well as artist Charlie Adlard expressed that they were pleased with how faithful the show is to the comic and remark on the similarities between the actors and the comic's original character drawings. Several scenes from "Days Gone Bye" were screened July 23, 2010 as part of the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International. Hurd asserted that "[they] really are doing six one-hour movie", and Darabont insisted that the series would closely reflect the development in the comics. "The path is a very strong template. But we're going to take every interesting detour we feel like taking. As long as were staying on the path of what Robert has done, I don't see any reason not to. If they have patience we'll eventually catch up to what Robert is doing."
The Walking Dead debuted during the same week in 120 countries. "Days Gone Bye" premiered in Hong Kong on TVB Pearl on August 30, 2011, while it expanded in international markets during the first week of November. Two weeks prior to its official premiere in the United States, the contents of the episode leaked online. As part of an expansive campaign to advertise and heighten anticipation for the premiere, international broadcasting affiliates of AMC and Fox coordinated a worldwide zombie invasion event proceeding days prior to premiere of the episode in the United States. The event occurred in twenty six cities worldwide, and were hosted in select locations including the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Palace of Westminster in London, Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Acropolis of Athens in Athens, and the Museo del Prado in Madrid. The campaign events commenced in Hong Kong and Taipei, and culminated in Los Angeles.
The Walking Dead was included on the cover of the December 2010 edition of Entertainment Weekly, which featured Rick Grimes pointing a gun at a horde of walkers. According to the journalist of the magazine, it "examines the past, present, and future" of the television franchise; "from the comic book’s humble beginnings, to unlikely path to the small screen, to even more unlikely path as a bona fide hit." Kirkman was ecstatic upon hearing of the news. "I've got to say—not to kiss your magazine's a– or anything—but when they called me and said Frank [Darabont] wanted to do the show, I was like, 'Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it.' And then when AMC was like, 'We're picking up the show,' I was like, 'Yeah, alright, whatever.' When they actually started shooting the pilot I was like, 'Well, this is kind of real, this is neat.' But when they called me and said, 'Your show’s on the cover of Entertainment Weekly,' I think that was the first time I was like, 'Oh my god, I can’t believe this is happening to me!'"
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|1||1||"Days Gone Bye"||Frank Darabont||Teleplay by: Frank Darabont||October 31, 2010||5.35|
|Sheriff's Deputy Rick Grimes is walking around a gas station parking lot looking for fuel. He finds a young girl walking through the gas station who turns out to be a zombie. He shoots her in the head as she approaches him. The show then flashes back to when he is critically wounded in a vicious gunfight and slips into a coma. He later awakens in an abandoned hospital to find a world occupied by the walking dead. Grimes finds his way home, only to discover that his wife Lori and their young son Carl have disappeared. He is upset and delusional but encounters a father and son, Morgan and Duane Jones, who have holed up in a neighbor's house on Rick's street, and learns that the CDC has set up a quarantine zone in Atlanta, Georgia. Rick departs for Atlanta in order to track down his family, leaving Morgan and Duane with some weapons and a police walkie-talkie, to which he will broadcast periodically to inform them of his location. Elsewhere, Lori has begun a romantic relationship with Rick's old partner and best friend, Shane Walsh (who has told her Rick is dead), and along with Carl and a small band of other survivors, is in hiding in a rural area outside Atlanta. Rick arrives in Atlanta and is set upon by an enormous horde of "walkers". He survives by slipping into a tank and sealing himself inside. An unknown person sends a transmission to the tank's radio, saying "Hey you, dumbass. Yeah, you in the tank. Cozy in there?"|
|2||2||"Guts"||Michelle MacLaren||Frank Darabont||November 7, 2010||4.71|
|Lori is surprised by Shane in the woods. The two end up having intercourse. Rick escapes from the tank aided by Glenn, the voice he had heard over the radio. Rick and Glenn meet up with Glenn's friends, a scavenging team of survivors that is a subset of the larger group that includes Lori, Carl, and Shane. Glenn's friends inform him that Rick's shooting spree has brought their hideout in a department store to the attention of the walkers. Emotions run high in the group, particularly between a black man, T-Dog, and an unhinged white man, Merle Dixon, which leads Rick to handcuff Merle to a pipe on the store's roof. As the walkers attempt to break into the previously safe store, brief radio contact is made with Shane and Lori's group who, unaware of Rick's presence, decide they are unable to help. Rick and Glenn hatch an escape plan and execute it by covering themselves in a "terminated" walker's blood and guts (to mask their scent as they move among the walkers), and making their way to a box truck. Glenn draws the walkers' attention away from the store by racing around in a Dodge Challenger and sounding its alarm. The group escapes the city, along with Glenn, leaving Merle chained to the pipe on the roof after T-Dog trips over a bag of tools and accidentally drops the handcuff key down a drain.|
|3||3||"Tell It to the Frogs"||Gwyneth Horder-Payton||Story by: Charles H. Eglee & Jack LoGiudice
Teleplay by: Charles H. Eglee & Jack LoGiudice and Frank Darabont
|November 14, 2010||5.07|
|Returning to the camp with the department store survivors, Rick has an emotional reunion with his wife and son. Soon afterward, however, despite encountering a walker near camp, Rick decides to go against Shane's advice and return to Atlanta to retrieve Merle and the bag Rick had dropped in the street when surrounded by zombies, which contained guns and a walkie-talkie he needs to warn Morgan against going to Atlanta. Rick is accompanied by Merle's upset and distrusting younger brother Daryl Dixon as well as Glenn and T-Dog. Lori warns Shane to stay away from her family now that Rick has returned. Rick's return is a surprise, since Shane had told her Rick had died in the hospital. Tensions run high in the camp between a woman, Carol, and her abusive husband, Ed. A fight breaks out when Ed hits Carol and threatens the other women, and Shane takes out his anger on Ed by nearly beating him to death. The rescue team makes it to Atlanta and, once they are on the department store roof, they discover a hacksaw, Merle's dismembered hand, and blood on his handcuffs, but he is nowhere to be found.|
|4||4||"Vatos"||Johan Renck||Robert Kirkman||November 21, 2010||4.75|
|While still in search of Merle, the group tries to retrieve the bag of guns that Rick had dropped on his previous visit to Atlanta. However, the group is attacked by several living Latino men who also seek the weapons. The group manages to grab an injured attacker, but several other attackers escape in a vehicle, taking Glenn with them as a hostage. After interrogating their own hostage, Rick and the others learn the location of their attackers' hideout, and head there hoping to make a prisoner trade. They are rebuffed by the Latinos, who demand the bag of guns along with a prisoner exchange. The threat of bloodshed is avoided when an elderly woman (the grandmother of one of the Latinos) disrupts the confrontation. Grimes and his men realize that the "thug" image their hosts portray is just a protective front. The Latino "gang" is made up of former employees of a hidden nursing home within which many of its elderly inhabitants are hiding. Rick leaves them some of the guns and the men exchange prisoners and depart. Upon leaving, they discover their van is missing and conclude that Merle has stolen it. Back at camp, a large group of walkers ventures up the hill and takes the survivors by surprise. Several members are killed, including Andrea's younger sister Amy and Carol's husband Ed. Rick and the rescuers return to camp just in time to kill the remaining walkers.|
|5||5||"Wildfire"||Ernest Dickerson||Glen Mazzara||November 28, 2010||5.56|
|While the dead are being buried, Andrea remains protective of Amy's body until it reawakens as a walker, whereupon Andrea then apologizes and kills Amy again. Jim reveals that he was bitten by a walker in the fight, and the living members of the group decide to take him to the CDC, though there are signs of conflict between Shane and Rick, as Shane believes the trip to the CDC is a dead end. One family from the group splits away, deciding to return home to Birmingham, Alabama, and the remaining members depart for the CDC. On the way there, while making repairs to the RV, Jim decides he wants the group to leave him so he can be reunited with his dead family (either figuratively in the hereafter or, perhaps, literally as a walker). The group continues on, arriving at the CDC building, where a scientist, Edwin Jenner, who isolated himself while running tests on the walker virus, has just lost his only virus test sample and is considering suicide. When the group prepares to leave, thinking the building is empty, Rick notices the camera moving and begs for his group to be allowed in. The doors open as the group of survivors looks on, astonished.|
|6||6||"TS-19"||Guy Ferland||Adam Fierro and Frank Darabont||December 5, 2010||5.97|
|In a flashback to the initial walker outbreak, Shane attempts to move Rick out of the hospital but is unable to do so because of soldiers executing the hospital staff and walkers breaking into the building. Thinking Rick is dead, all Shane can do is barricade Rick's door and flee the hospital. In the present, the group enjoys an ephemeral normality amid the comforts of hot showers and wine. A drunk Shane seeks to defend his past actions to Lori, telling her that he had been certain that Rick was dead. He tries to force himself on her sexually but she fights him off. The next morning, Dr. Jenner explains to the group, using a computer model called Test Subject 19, the process in the brain that takes place when a person is bitten and then partially revived as a walker. Subsequently the group discovers that a timer in the lab is counting down to the exhaustion of the building's power supply and that when it hits zero the building will "decontaminate" by self-destructing. Dr. Jenner locks them in, telling them that such an end is humane, and their deaths will be swift and painless. The group, however, believes they can survive, and attempts to break out. Rick convinces Jenner to release them; Jenner does so and tells him something inaudible before the group flees. One of the members, Jacqui, tells them she will stay no matter what, and die with Jenner. Andrea chooses the same fate, but Dale says if she stays then he will stay and eventually convinces her to leave with them. Carol gives Rick a grenade she found in his clothes when she was doing laundry, and they blow up one of the windows and narrowly escape the building before it explodes, and then proceed to drive off.|
The first season of The Walking Dead received universal acclaim from critics, garnering a score of 82 out of 100 on Metacritic. TV Guide's Matt Roush called the show "a stark and harrowing survival parable... visually stunning and daring in its artful use of silence." Simon Abrams from Slant Magazine awarded the season three and a half stars out of a possible four; "To say that Darabont has kicked his series off with a bang would be a serious understatement... [he] has fashioned a fully realized alternate reality and it's a thrilling thing to experience." Heather Havrilesky of Salon gave the series a grade of A, saying "A film-quality drama series about zombies? Somebody pinch me!"
Awards and nominations
The Walking Dead was nominated for Best New Series for the 2011 Writers Guild of America Awards. It was nominated for Best Television Series Drama at the 68th Golden Globe Awards. It was also named during the American Film Institute Awards 2010 as one of the top 10 television programs of 2010. For the 2011 Saturn Awards, the series received six nominations—for Best Television Presentation, Andrew Lincoln for Best Actor in Television, Sarah Wayne Callies for Best Actress on Television, Steven Yeun for Best Supporting Actor in Television, Laurie Holden for Best Supporting Actress in Television, and Noah Emmerich for Best Guest Starring Role in Television. The series was nominated for Best Drama Series at the 1st Critics' Choice Television Awards. The pilot episode "Days Gone Bye" received three nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards—it was nominated for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series. It won for Outstanding Prosthetic Make-up for a Series, Miniseries, Movie, or Special.
The pilot received 5.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched series premiere episode of any AMC television series. The first season finale received 6 million viewers, a season high; with 4 million viewers in the 18–49 demographic, making it the most watched basic cable series for the demographic. The first season had an average of 5.24 million viewers and a rating of 2.7 in the 18–49 demographic. In the United Kingdom, it premiered one week after it did in the United States, on November 5, 2010 on digital channel, FX. The premiere had 579,000 viewers, almost double for any other show on FX that week. The viewership dipped during the season then rose to 522,000 viewers for the final episode. The terrestrial premiere on Channel 5 on April 10, 2011, averaged 1.46 million viewers. Based on its ratings, the series was renewed for a second season on November 8, 2010.
Home media releases
The first season was released on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1 on March 8, 2011 and in region 2 on May 16, 2011. Special features on the sets include six featurettes—"The Making of The Walking Dead", "Inside The Walking Dead: Episode 1–6", "A Sneak Peek with Robert Kirkman", "Behind the Scenes Zombie Make-Up Tips", "Convention Panel with Producers" and "The Walking Dead Trailer". Also included are other behind the scenes featurettes—"Zombie School", "Bicycle Girl", "On Set with Robert Kirkman", "Hanging with Steven Yeun", "Inside Dale's RV" and "On Set with Andrew Lincoln".
A three-disc special edition of the first season was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 4, 2011. The sets include all the previous special features, plus brand new extras. The new extras include audio commentary on all six episodes, the black and white version of the pilot, and six new featurettes—"We Are The Walking Dead", "Bring Out the Dead: KNB and the Art of Making Zombies", "Digital Decay: The VFX of The Walking Dead", "No More Room in Hell: The Walking Dead Phenomenon", "Adapting the Dead" and "Killer Conversations: Frank Darabont & Greg Nicotero". In addition to the DVD and Blu-ray release, a limited edition Blu-ray collector's tin contains an exclusive wearable zombie mask from the National Entertainment Collectibles Association designed by the series own make-up artist, Greg Nicotero.
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- ""Walking Dead" Finale Draws 6 Million Viewers, 3.0 Adults 18–49 Rating" (Press release). AMC. December 6, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
- "2010 Year in Review/2011 Year in Preview: AMC". The Futon Critic. January 24, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- "Weekly Top 10 Programmes" (Press release). barb.co.uk. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
- Laughlin, Andrew (April 11, 2011). "'The Walking Dead' scares up 1.5m on C5". Digital Spy. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
- Lacy, Gord (July 21, 2011). "The Walking Dead - Press Release for Season 1 Special Edition". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- Official website
- List of The Walking Dead episodes at the Internet Movie Database
- List of The Walking Dead season 1 episodes at TV.com